A Poem Thread

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by Angelus, Nov 9, 2002.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    “there is a loneliness in this world so great
    that you can see it in the slow movement of
    the hands of a clock.
    people so tired
    either by love or no love.
    people just are not good to each other
    one on one.
    the rich are not good to the rich
    the poor are not good to the poor.
    we are afraid."

    Charles Bukowski
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Enjoy this month of appalling transformations in the larger stores?

    Actually far less hectic and draining than Christmas. From the standpoint that you only have to waste selecting time and money on buying candy, and maybe the kids or grandkids could use the same costumes from last year (along with recycled decorations). And unless you're an extension of the Addams Family or the Munsters, probably no visiting relatives/guests and "feast at home" get-togethers.

    Of course, the best deal is if your country doesn't participate in Halloween. But then you don't have anything to offset or contrast to December dread. (We won't mar the situation additionally with the varying international aspects of generic Thanksgiving that might contingently apply, since some of those create a double whammy of co-occurring in October or are outside the year-closing, tri-month pile-up hell zone via being as early as August.)

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    October Portents

    I may have seen the Grim Wife once
    In a tall grass glade where the grey cat hunts.
    Why she grieves so long after loss
    Spans beyond my ken, too cryptic to cross.

    Some hedge a boding widow's task
    With warming solace from a drinking flask.
    Trust they have in such spirits known.
    But not those exhumed, oh not those wind blown.

    I may have heard the Grim Wife thrice
    At a late hour when the owl spots mice.
    She's not hopeful like scrying seers.
    Folk bury their eyes, they smother their ears.

    If only wailing could relate
    Whatever she gleans from the forge of fate.
    Is it yours or is it mine or
    A far tragedy, on another shore?

    I may have felt the Grim Wife's hand
    In early shivers from the autumn land.
    Distant clouds were gravid with rain
    When old rites took two, both man and son slain.

    Fostered by a lingering dread.
    It's the wool local storytellers spread.
    None dear lost at an ancient well?
    Just a faded woe, no legend to quell.

    I may have breathed the Grim Wife's prayer
    In the scented speech of the eldritch air.
    Wafting from where the moonlight played
    On dark lake ripples, as a red dog bayed.

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2023
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    A Rhyme for Halloween


    Tonight I light the candles of my eyes in the lee
    And swing down this branch full of red leaves.
    Yellow moon, skull and spine of the hare,
    Arrow me to town on the neck of the air.

    I hear the undertaker make love in the heather;
    The candy maker, poor fellow, is under the weather.
    Skunk, moose, raccoon, they go to the doors in threes
    With a torch in their hands or pleas: "O, please . . ."

    Baruch Spinoza and the butcher are drunk:
    One is the tail and one is the trunk
    Of a beast who dances in circles for beer
    And doesn't think twice to learn how to steer.

    Our clock is blind, our clock is dumb.
    Its hands are broken, its fingers numb.
    No time for the martyr of our fair town
    Who wasn't a witch because she could drown.

    Now the dogs of the cemetery are starting to bark
    At the vision of her, bobbing up through the dark.
    When she opens her mouth to gasp for air,
    A moth flies out and lands in her hair.

    The apples are thumping, winter is coming.
    The lips of the pumpkin soon will be humming.
    By the caw of the crow on the first of the year,
    Something will die, something appear.
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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Theme in Yellow

    "I spot the hills
    With yellow balls in autumn.
    I light the prairie cornfields
    Orange and tawny gold clusters
    And I am called pumpkins.
    On the last of October
    When dusk is fallen
    Children join hands
    And circle round me
    Singing ghost songs
    And love to the harvest moon;
    I am a jack-o'-lantern
    With terrible teeth
    And the children know
    I am fooling."
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  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    “won't you celebrate with me
    what i have shaped into
    a kind of life? i had no model.
    born in babylon
    both nonwhite and woman
    what did i see to be except myself?
    i made it up
    here on this bridge between
    starshine and clay,
    my one hand holding tight
    my other hand; come celebrate
    with me that everyday
    something has tried to kill me
    and has failed.”
    ― Lucille Clifton
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  9. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    "Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
    where everything shines as it disappears.
    The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
    as the curve of the body as it turns away.

    What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
    Is it safer to be gray and numb?
    What turns hard becomes rigid
    and is easily shattered.

    Pour yourself out like a fountain.
    Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
    finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

    Every happiness is the child of a separation
    it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel,
    dares you to become the wind."

    Rainer Marie Rilke, from Sonnet to Orpheus II, 12
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2023
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  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    "I wanted to destroy this
    entire contemporary mess
    I'm caught in, the social
    lies, the motherfucking
    so-called civilization
    which seems to lack the
    freedom we all crow about
    so goddam much, the idiot
    middle-class I'm trapped
    in by the fact that my
    art is ignored, as all
    contemporary art is ig-
    nored until it is no longer
    contemporary, until it is
    old and respectable and
    ~William Wantling
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member


    "At first you didn’t know me.
    I was a shape moving rapidly, nervous
    at the edge of your vision. A flat, high voice,
    dark slash of hair across my cheekbone.
    I made myself present, though never distinct.
    Things I said that he repeated, a tone
    you could hear, but never trace, in his voice.
    Silence—followed by talk of other things.
    When you would sit at your desk, I would creep
    near you like a question. A thought would scurry
    across the front of your mind. I’d be there,
    ducking out of sight. You must have felt me
    watching you, my small eyes fixed on your face,
    the smile you wondered at, on the lips only.
    The voice on the phone, quick and full of business.
    All that you saw and heard and could not find
    the center of, those days growing into years,
    growing inside of you, out of reach, now with you
    forever, in your house, in your garden, in corridors
    of dream where I finally tell you my name."
  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, a few hours early, but Halloween will soon be defunct. Time to move ahead to the event after Thanksgiving.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Black Friday (November tidings)

    Quickly, quickly,
    pass through that day.
    Comfort not those sickly,
    nor falter for the stray.

    Will the old gods intervene
    when the victims' pyres are lit?
    Will the halls be red or green
    when the poised marauders quit?

    Boldly, boldly,
    defend the gate!
    Sunrise glowers coldly
    at the masses who wait.

    Survival is a beacon
    after tawny beasts flood in.
    Only saints left uneaten
    shall enjoy the final sin.

    Harken, harken,
    our times are cursed.
    If the gentry bargain
    and hill tribes plunder first.

    Let brash mortals buy and trade
    as fey halflings stock the shelves.
    Let their paladins parade
    as new victors preen themselves.

    Hasten, hasten,
    reach high retreats!
    The mad throng will chasten
    stragglers lost in the streets.

    Eschew fabled jubilees,
    and be deaf to frantic howls
    of pale wretches on their knees,
    when the Devil drains his bowels!

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2023
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  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member


    "Pale amber sunlight falls across
    The reddening October trees,
    That hardly sway before a breeze
    As soft as summer: summer's loss
    Seems little, dear! on days like these.

    Let misty autumn be our part!
    The twilight of the year is sweet:
    Where shadow and the darkness meet
    Our love, a twilight of the heart
    Eludes a little time's deceit.

    Are we not better and at home
    In dreamful Autumn, we who deem
    No harvest joy is worth a dream?
    A little while and night shall come,
    A little while, then, let us dream.

    Beyond the pearled horizons lie
    Winter and night: awaiting these
    We garner this poor hour of ease,
    Until love turn from us and die
    Beneath the drear November trees.”

    ― Ernest Dowson, The Poems And Prose Of Ernest Dowson
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    I Grant You Refuge
    by Hiba Abu Nada¹ (trans. Huda Fakhreddine), 10 October 2023

    I grant you refuge
    in invocation and prayer.
    I bless the neighborhood and the minaret
    to guard them
    from the rocket

    from the moment
    it is a general's command
    until it becomes
    a raid.

    I grant you and the little ones refuge,
    the little ones who
    change the rocket's course
    before it lands
    with their smiles.

    I grant you and the little ones refuge,
    the little ones now asleep like chicks in a nest.

    They don't walk in their sleep toward dreams.
    They know death lurks outside the house.

    Their mothers' tears are now doves
    following them, trailing behind
    every coffin.

    I grant the father refuge,
    the little ones' father who holds the house upright
    when it tilts after the bombs.
    He implores the moment of death:
    "Have mercy. Spare me a little while.
    For their sake, I've learned to love my life.
    Grant them a death
    as beautiful as they are."

    I grant you refuge
    from hurt and death,
    refuge in the glory of our siege,
    here in the belly of the whale.

    Our streets exalt God with every bomb.
    They pray for the mosques and the houses.
    And every time the bombing begins in the North,
    our supplications rise in the South.

    I grant you refuge
    from hurt and suffering.

    With words of sacred scripture
    I shield the oranges from the sting of phosphorous
    and the shades of cloud from the smog.

    I grant you refuge in knowing
    that the dust will clear,
    and they who fell in love and died together
    will one day laugh.



    ¹ Hiba Abu Nada died in an airstrike on 20 October 2023, ten days after penning these verses.
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  16. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    This may seem prudish, but I’m somewhat fine with swearing in songs, just not poetry. Otherwise, I enjoyed this poem. Swearing to me belongs in Netflix series about mafia bosses or something. lol It seems like a lazy way to express one’s self, like the author is going for shock value or whatever. It’s not shocking at all though, because the “technique” is so overused.

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    Last edited: Nov 4, 2023
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  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I have no problem with anyone using profanity, either in writing or speech.To me it's just another form of communication, often expressing anger and desperation. To each their own I guess.
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  18. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    I agree that our traditional "vulgar vocabulary" has now become pretty much corny and kaput. The only language that has potent shock value in our era is speech violations and thought-crimes related to social justice.

    I mean, the efwerd still isn't at the level of "heck" or "darn", but it is sliding toward that neighborhood. Even if one regards "vulgar vocabulary" as a significant part of the everyday jargon of some hipster and Ulster Scot (redneck) descended subcultures, that likewise means it has been rendered trite or common.

    But counterculture poetry from the '50s. '60s. and '70s (as well as literature in general) was coming out of a period of heavy censorship (of the traditional ilk). So working with obscenity back then (like in the Beat movement onward) was an experimental novelty, and it did generate psychological, rebellious, disorienting, and sometimes surreal effects for those vintage readers (including outrage).

    This particular poem is from that era, so it can be retrospectively "valued" or "excused" in terms of that historical setting. But if written today it would certainly be nothing new (operating within a spirit or template already introduced in the past). Even the Marxist-like ranting against Western civilization and the middle class (bourgeoisie) was older than the hills back then.

    Given the imprisonment, substance addictions, and military background of its author, it's also arguably using some kind of "confessional writing" approach similar to what Plath adopted from 1960 onward, that reflected "personal, private material".

    While she managed to navigate that territory without delivering the poetry equivalent of the taboo hand grenades that, say, William S, Burroughs released in his unrestricted prose... It's a style that nevertheless even today is going to be prone at times to drop something that would have been disturbing to the Old Establishment (but which has long since been replaced -- the original counterculture having hybridized with it).
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  19. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I got used to "shocking words" reading Ginsburg, Burroughs, Bukowski, and O'Hara. I actually like it. It lends a sort of everyday grittiness and rawness to the prose..
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  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    A Supermarket in California
    Launch Audio in a New Window

    "What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
    In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
    What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

    I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
    I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
    I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
    We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

    Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
    (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
    Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
    Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
    Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?"

    Berkeley, 1955
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  21. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Probably helped that drafts of Beat poetry were often rendered verbally in front of small audiences, before they ever wound up being published. Hearing how such was meant to be elocuted by the authors themselves, and that traveling about, maybe aided the ultimate editor in deciding that what looked like prose really did qualify as a poem.

    Of course, some of the stuff outputted literally was performance poetry. But Ginsberg usually wrote his material down first, even if he did recite it early before crowds. There wasn't improvisation thrown in, which is a key aspect of the other.

    If only Roger Corman had done it first...

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    Last edited: Nov 14, 2023
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  22. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Jack Keorouac reading several of his poems, Steve Allen playing piano in the background. 1959 record album release.

    link --> Jack Kerouac & Steve Allen ~ Poetry For The Beat Generation

    1 October In The Railroad Earth 7:09
    2 Deadbelly 1:05
    3 Charlie Parker 3:45
    4 The Sounds Of The Universe Coming In My Window 3:17
    5 One Mother 0:49
    6 Goofing At The Table 1:45
    7 Bowery Blues 3:56
    8 Abraham 1:17
    9 Dave Brubeck 0:31
    10 I Had A Slouch Hat Too One Time 6:12
    11 The Wheel Of The Quivering Meat Conception 1:55
    12 McDougal Street Blues 3:23
    13 The Moon Her Majesty 1:36
    14 I'd Rather Be Thin Than Famous
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  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member


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